Going to the gym on a regular basis is not only a great way to prevent heart disease, but increased physical activity is also linked to improving mental health. Getting enough exercise is paramount to both your physical and mental health and preventing injuries at the gym will allow you to be consistent with your exercise routine. 

Here are some of the most common gym injuries: 

  1. Knee Injury
  2. Overexercising-related injuries
  3. Shoulder Injury
  4. Shin splints
  5. Pectoral strain

Common Gym Injuries

Knee Injury


Knee injuries are among the most common joint injuries, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk.

  1. Stretch – Utilize both dynamic stretching (active, moving the body) and static stretching (staying in one position).
  2. Lose excess weight – Too much weight on your knees can make you more prone to a knee injury.
  3. Use correct technique – Ensure you are performing an exercise correctly. Looking up the technique for exercises involving the knee (running, squatting, etc.) can greatly reduce your risk of injury.


Before you start at-home treatment for knee injuries, you should see a doctor, particularly if the pain or swelling is severe or you cannot bear to take a few steps on the knee. Your doctor will examine your knee and possibly order imaging to determine treatment options. 

Here are some treatments you can do at home in the meantime:

  1. Ice – Using a bag of ice (or a bag of frozen vegetables) can help reduce pain and might reduce swelling.
  2. Rest – Avoid weight bearing as much as possible until you have been cleared by your doctor or until the pain is significantly improved. 
  3. Pain medicine – Medications that you can find over-the-counter at your pharmacy like ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help reduce knee pain.

Overexercising-related Injuries


Overexertion during exercise is particularly common when first starting an exercise regimen or when playing sports.  Another name for these injuries is overuse syndromes.  They commonly affect the tendons and ligaments around joints.  Examples include tennis elbow, shin splints, patella-femoral syndrome, and Achilles tendonitis.  They are characterized by minimal pain at rest, but severe pain with use of the affected tendon.

  1. Start slowly.  Since most overuse injuries occur when first starting a new exercise regimen, start slowly and work your way up to where you want to be.
  2. Avoid working out a sore muscle – Microtears in your muscles form when lifting weights which is crucial to building muscle, but it can lead to muscle soreness. Some soreness is normal, but listen to your body. If a muscle hurts beyond soreness during an exercise, it’s best to avoid it.
  3. Check your form – Bad form can lead to injury — especially when overexercising with bad form.
  4. Use the right gear – Overtraining with improper gear, such as running shoes that don’t support your foot properly, can lead to injury.


Because of the many ways over-exercising can affect your body, treatment will depend on where the injury is found. Although, for pretty much all overuse injuries, rest is the best way.  In particular, avoid whatever movement causes the pain.  NSAID medications, like Motrin, might help with the pain, but have not been shown to hasten resolution by much.

Shoulder Injury


The shoulder is the most mobile of the joints in the body.  There are many muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage in the shoulder, so there are many opportunities for injury.

  1. Warm up before working out – A good warm-up should consist of light cardio and dynamic stretches of the muscles you will be working out that day.
  2. Avoid too much weight – Working out with weights that are too heavy for you can lead to injury. If every set feels like 100% effort, chances are too much weight is being used.
  3. Skip workouts when necessary – If you work a highly physical job that requires lifting heavy objects on a regular basis, it’s best to occasionally skip the gym to prevent injury.


Treating shoulder injuries will vary by intensity and/or age, but avoiding the gym and physically demanding activities while you heal is your best bet. Be sure to see your doctor if discomfort persists after taking a break from the gym.

Shin Splints


Shin splints can form during any kind of high-impact repetitive activity in the gym such as running or using a jump rope. However, injury can be minimized:

  1. Rest – as shin splints are a type of overuse syndrome, rest is the best treatment.
  2. Wear proper shoes – A good shoe will support your feet, legs, and back to help minimize injury during high-impact activities.
  3. Switch to lower-impact exercises – Excessive impact on your shins will lead to injury, so try exercises such as cycling or using an elliptical to reduce impact.
  4. Reduce duration and frequency of high-impact workouts –  Overexertion may eventually lead to shin splints.


For most people, shin splints can be treated at home with rest, pain relievers, and using ice. Once the pain is gone, you can resume your normal exercise routine.

Pectoral Strain


A pectoral strain can happen when performing chest exercises, such as bench presses, and the muscle is overstretched. 

  1. Don’t use too much weight – Heavy weights are great for muscle-building, but too much weight can cause an injury.
  2. Work up to your target weight – Instead of jumping straight to your working weight, start with less weight. During this time, you can check your form as well as give your muscles a chance to warm up.
  3. Workout your upper back muscles – Your back muscles support your chest, and a weak upper back can lead to a pectoral strain.


Like most common gym injuries, rest and over-the-counter pain medications can aid in recovery as well as avoiding upper body workouts.

When to go to the ER

Some gym injuries require immediate attention depending on their severity. Here’s what to look out for:

  1. Inability to bear weight – If you cannot hold any weight during a particular exercise, it’s very possible that you have a dislocation or a fracture.
  2. Numbness or tingling – These can be signs of nerve damage and should be treated immediately.
  3. Intense pain – Pain that is impossible to ignore warrants a trip to the emergency room.
  4. Injury is swollen – Swelling can be a sign of a more serious injury.

If you experience any of the above, give us a call so we can get you treated as soon as possible.